While it’s fun to look at the census numbers to analyze demographic changes, their primary purpose is to assist lawmakers to periodically redraw political districts. And in DC that means three things: drawing ward boundaries, drawing ANC boundaries, and drawing Single Member District lines.
District law requires that the boundaries of each ward be drawn in such a way that each ward’s population is within 5% of one eight of the District’s population. And the most recent count of DC’s population brings the total to 601,723 and one eighth of that is 75, 215. So each ward must have a population between 78,976 and 71, 455.
And most of them in fact do. But Georgetown’s ward, Ward 2, has about 1,000 too many people. And Wards 7 and 8, which are mostly east of the Anacostia river, both are several hundred people too small. So Ward 2 needs to give up some land and Wards 7 and 8 need to grow.
The political consensus (rim shot) seems to be coalescing around the idea that Ward 8 (which is entirely east of the Anacostia and bounded by Maryland to the east and Ward 7 to the north) will take some of Ward 7’s land. And Ward 7 will in turn take some land from either Ward 5 or Ward 6. Which ever of those two wards that give up some land will likely be the ward that takes portions of Ward 2.
Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry has made it no secret that he would rather grow by taking some land from the booming waterfront on the other side of the Anacostia. But Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells looks like he’ll put up enough of a fight to prevent that.
Either way, for Georgetown it looks like all of it will stay in Ward 2. It helps that Jack Evans: A. lives here and is unlikely to redistrict himself out of a job, and B. on the redistricting committee.
Once the ward boundaries are set, the ANC boundaries must be determined. There are less strict rules about the ANC boundaries as there are for the ward boundaries. As a result, the city has widely disparate sizes for its ANCs. In Georgetown’s case, ANC 2E contains census tracts 1 (east Georgetown), 1.01 (G.U.), 1.02 (west Georgetown), and a good chunk,but not all, of 3.00 (Burleith).
Since the western boundaries of Ward 2 are not likely going to change, it is unlikely that ANC 2E is going to change either. It’s bordered by Ward 3 to the west and north, and the Potomac to the south. The only way it could grow and stay in Ward 2 would be for it to grow into Foggy Bottom or the West End. Since ANCs tend to follow neighborhood lines where possible, this is highly unlikely.
It’s interesting to note that the last redistricting resulted in ANC 2E losing some land and one commissioner. However, that was because Foxhall Village was moved from Ward 2 to Ward 3.
Stay tuned for tomorrow, when GM will discuss the SMD boundaries. While this might seem the least interesting, it actually is quite a fascinating topic.